Perfection and modification
The inside story is altogether something else. The perfection has nothing to do with nature, and everything to do with technology. The absence of external flaws on fruit and vegetable is due to lethal chemical sprays designed to keep flies and other insects away. The freshness is apparent only, a refrigerative put-on to deceive the eye of the beholder. If you really want to know how fresh a plant food is, have it analyzed for its vitamin C content, its other vitamins and phytochemicals, and then compare this to a really fresh product. The chances are, there is no comparison.
The air of persistent freshness for days on end, is the result of genetic modification. The gene responsible for beginning the decay process immediately the plant food is culled has been disabled, and the fruit or vegetable continues to feel attached to its plant. We’ve managed to deceive even nature; which might have been alright, if we only understood the long-term consequences of such genetic interference. But we don’t. The only reality is the painters’ appellation: nature morte. This is truly dead nature.
The European E designations
Of course, food manufacturers are not free to do anything they like. There are rules to follow both in the process of manufacturing, and in the presentation of a marketable product. The manufacturer must state on the wrapper the nutrient values of the food, and any additives used. In Europe, long a civilized and organized society, food additives are fully described, assigned safety limits, and designated by appropriate numbers preceded by a capital E. So for example, after the necessary blurb on nutrients in a European packaged food, the tiny size text may have the designations E-100 and E-250.
Assuming you are a European, have you any idea what these are? Why not? I suppose for the same reasons I don’t, if I don’t look them up in an appropriate reference book. Ten years ago, there were about a thousand of these substances, and today there may be over two thousand (over 5500 in the US). Remembering what these mean implies either possessing a memory few of us have, or an unmistakable bent for mental masochism.
But of course, you may simply possess the same reference as I do. Do you take it with you, when you go shopping? I know I don’t, though whether out of mental sloth, or simply because before I buy I look at so many labels that it is practically impossible to check all E numbers, I don’t really know. But if you don’t take the book with you, and don’t look up every E number you encounter, of what actual use are the E designations to you as a consumer—an identification system designed to protect you in the first place.
The stuff behind the E numbers
So to revert to the previous example, E-100 designates curcumin, a coloring agent of red-brownish color extracted from the plant curcuma longa, a relative of ginger. The raw powder is known as turmeric. Curcumin is considered a food and is not subject to any limitations, because it has no known side effects or other undesirable properties.
That is not at all the case with E-250, sodium nitride. Nitrous salts are toxic to our bodies in two ways. First, by relaxing our smooth muscles and especially our capillaries, at the same time converting hemoglobin to its methyl form, which is incapable of transporting oxygen. In other words, incapacitating the principal function of hemoglobin. One gram is sufficient to kill an adult human being. Second, nitrous salts combine with organic substances in our bodies and form nitrosamines, which are powerful carcinogens. A rather unhealthy combination everything considered.
But then why are food manufacturers allowed to use such toxic agents, you are likely to wonder. Basically, to save you from a much more immediate danger: botulism, the most dangerous kind of food poisoning caused by Clostridium botulinum, which can virtually kill you overnight. Preserved meats, sausages, canned meat, smoked or precooked meat and fish, hot dogs and some cheeses, are all peppered with nitrous salts up to 0.2mg per kilogram of food, or a small percentage of the lethal dose, to prevent botulism.
Become an informed consumer
No one is trying to kill you, and least of all the food manufacturers whose devoted client you may be. The E-numbered substances are there for your protection. But if you wish to protect yourself further by avoiding foods with E-250, or any similar “protective” compounds, your choice is to either learn what all these numbers mean, or to shop around with a reference book under your arm. Neither one a very practical scheme, I dare say.
So try buying mostly fresh, and if at all possible, organically grown products in season. They are more expensive than the norm, because they cost more to grow and demand for them is still small. But considering that the diseases which kill us now are mostly food related, it may be worth it. Still, remember to look for the official stamp of approval for organically grown products. Don’t take anybody’s word for it. Checks of “healthy foods” in the UK, showed that some of them contained over ten times the allowable aflatoxins, compounds far more carcinogenic than nitrosamines.
Limit the consumption of foods that come out of packages, cans, jars or various other containers. Read their labels carefully. The protection which state legislation affords you is theoretical. To become practical it requires your interested intervention. If you wish to have real quality in your life, and not only the appearance of it, you have no choice but to become a knowledgeable and informed consumer. You cannot take quality for granted.
The subject of food additives is very complex. The expansion of consumer markets and the expectations of consumers have made many of the additives necessary. Advertising hype and not particularly accurate messages continuously confuse the innocent consumer.
And this article can only touch upon a serious subject, with far more serious implications and repercussions. Detoxification begins where you stop being an innocent consumer.